South of the border, it goes south in the third quarter as Pistons fall to Mavs
Hector Vivas (NBAE/Getty)
Three quick observations from Thursday night’s 122-111 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at Mexico City Arena
GAME OF RUNS – There was an All-Star buzz as the Pistons and Dallas Mavericks entertained the Mexico City crowd – and, for the first 18 minutes or so, the scoreboard whirled as if it were the All-Star game. The Pistons won the dunk contest, but Dallas won the 3-point shootout. When that ran its course, the teams swapped 14-0 runs to end the first half – the first by the Pistons to give them a seven-point lead, the second by Dallas to put it ahead by seven at halftime. The Mavs then blew the game open early in the third quarter, extending the end-of-half run to 20-0 and widening the lead to 18 points before the mid-point of the quarter. It widened to 24 when Luka Doncic took a seat with 2:41 left in the third quarter. The Pistons went on a 16-2 run to finish the quarter, pulling to within 10 points. They got to nine, but consecutive triples from Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson three minutes into the fourth quarter bumped the Dallas lead back to 16. Curry and Doncic both scored 23 first-half points and Doncic, validating his MVP candidacy, finished with 41 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. It was both the first NBA triple-double in games held in Mexico City and the highest-scoring game. Curry finished with 30. A sellout crowd of 20,604 watched the game at Mexico City Arena.
GUAC-ING IT OFF – An avocado almost kept Andre Drummond from playing, but he turned in a peach of a performance. Drummond played after being listed on the injury report as questionable with inflammation around his eyes, but was in his usual spot in the starting lineup and kept the Pistons close with a 20-point, nine-rebound first half in which he made 9 of 11 shots. Drummond finished with 23 pints and 15 rebounds. Drummond experienced swelling around the eyes after a reaction to avocado and subsequent discomfort with his contact lenses. Drummond sat with sunglasses on while the Pistons went through their Wednesday practice and subsequent NBA Cares event on Wednesday at Mexico City Arena and was listed as questionable on the official NBA injury report.
TRANSITION ISSUES – The Pistons didn’t get lost in translation, but they got a little mixed up in transition. The official fast-break points said Dallas scored 16 that way, but that only tells a part of the story. Seth Curry shook free in transition a few times for 3-pointers, once off a made Pistons basket, and the Mavs scored two transition dunks on the first three possessions of the third quarter to take the game’s first double-digits lead at 11 points to force a Dwane Casey timeout just 70 seconds into the second half. Three possessions into a half makes for a quick timeout, but it almost surely said that the Pistons had violated a bullet point of their game plan against a team known to want to get up quick shots. Jalen Brunson’s transition triple, technically not fast-break points, three minutes into the fourth quarter prompted another Casey timeout as Dallas restored its lead to 16 points. The Pistons didn’t get much of anything in transition and their first unit struggled in the half-court offense. Starters other than Andre Drummond accounted for 37 points and shot 12 of 42. Blake Griffin finished with 10 points and shot 3 of 16; Luke Kennard finished with eight points and shot 3 of 13.